The “Rainbow Warrior”

July 10, 2017 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | CRIME, HISTORY, POLITICS |
Drawing of 'Rainbow Warrior 1' by Rama

Drawing of 'Rainbow Warrior 1' by Rama

10 July, 1985: Greenpeace’s protest ship is blown-up in Auckland Harbour, New Zealand by 2 bombs planted by French agents. One crew member, photographer Fernando Pereira, made an ill-timed decision to return the ship after the first blast, in order to recover his photographic equipment. He was killed by the second explosion. Justice was not fully brought to bear on the agents, or the ones who gave the order. Our fictional doggerel based on the incident can be found here.

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The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.

No, you can't go back in time and kill baby Hitler.  It's complicated.  (Yes, this is Adolf as a tot).

No, you can't go back in time and kill baby Hitler. It's complicated. (Yes, this is Adolf as a tot).

by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland (June 2017) Neal Stephenson, you promised me time travel, magic, and Ancient Greek – all in the first few pages. You quoted Peter Gabriel! I was so there!  Oh goody, I thought, gentle reader, Mr S is back to  pre-Reamde/Anathem/Seveneves form. Nearly 750 pages later  >sigh<  I can tell you that I was wrong. Mr S misled me. Read our review of Seveneves for a more detailed exegesis of what ails Mr Stephenson’s writing now. Sadly, D.O.D.O lacks even the beauty and science that leavened Seveneves.  There’s no magic or Ancient Greek to be seen, either. Dr Melisande Stokes, Harvard lecturer in ancient language, is writing a record…

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Night’s Lies by Gesualdo Bufalino

la-tempete

(1988) The place of confinement is an island fortress, “It is known as an island but ought to be called a rock.  For it is nothing more than a stack of volcanic tufa heaped up into the form of an enormous snout, wearisomely steep in some places, but for the most part bare, sheer crag.  The strip of sea between it and the mainland is no wider than a keen eye can traverse.  None the less to cross it, be it through the malice of the winds or of the currents, is a hazardous business for vessels, and totally beyond the…

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When Translation is Divine

June 12, 2017 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | HISTORY |
Baramon_mask

The Varnished Culture loves linguistic error – see out travelogue of malapropisms, Bitings on a Complimentary Basis. But we just had to add this: a scholar, explaining the derivation of the English word ‘frown,’ pointed to his forehead and stated “I’m wrinkling my foreskin.”

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House of Names by Colm Toibin

"I don't know why everyone is SHOUTING..." (Orestes pursued by the Furies - William Adolphe Bouguereau,1862)

"I don't know why everyone is SHOUTING..." (Orestes pursued by the Furies - William Adolphe Bouguereau,1862)

Irish novelist Colm Tóibín’s 2016 re-imagining of the sacrifice of Iphigenia by her father, Agamemnon,  his return from Troy and the bloody aftermath, starts well. The longest, first part is narrated by Agamemnon’s enraged wife, Clytemnestra, and her ghost narrates the shortest, part five. Clytemnestra’s voice is the best, capturing something of the remote, wild affect of the ancient Greek verse we know:- “We are all hungry now.  Food merely whets our appetite, it sharpens our teeth; meat makes us ravenous for more meat, as death is ravenous for more death. Murder makes us more ravenous, fills the soul with satisfaction that is fierce and then luscious enough to create a…

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